Many people find history boring and consider it a pursuit reserved for nerds who like gathering facts for future trivia games. But Republican operators fear a knowledge of history in the electorate.
History teaches us lessons like what happens when a dictator takes over a nation and proceeds to plunge an entire continent into headlong total war with the attendant extermination of millions he didn’t like. It shows us other lessons like the effects of groups like the Khmer Rouge on Cambodia, the extermination of tens of millions of Russians at the hands of Stalin—oddly enough a figure revered today by the current holder of the Czar’s chambers in the Kremlin—the genocides of Rwanda, Bosnia, Armenia, the American Native population, etc., etc.
The inhumanity of man against mankind is part of the bloody river of sorrow and death that litters the history of the world.
Conversely, history teaches us of individual efforts to codify and protect the rights of normal ever-day people. Dating back to the Magna Carta Libertatum, known as the Magna Carta, that reigned in the unbridled power of King John in 1215 on forward to the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of RIghts.
The principles of governance by the consent of the governed have taken hundreds of years to mature. And that progress is all at risk now in the United States and elsewhere. One of the key components of the assault on these ideals is the invalidation of history as an important subject of education.
Efforts to vilify history are actually multi-pronged. First there is the misclassification of it as something that might offend or make students “uncomfortable.” This is what lies at the heart of the far-right propaganda against teaching Critical Race Theory in schools. Oddly enough, CRT has never been taught in schools or to children. It is an advanced legal theory about pervasive racism in our society—something that is observably true.
The fear and loathing of history lessons in schools has far-right Nazis either running for local offices on school boards or backing those they see as malleable enough to influence on those boards or other local positions. This recently backfired in Boise, Idaho where voters elected an 18-year-old progressive to replace an incumbent tied to the far right.
Closely allied to the history haters are the book banners and the book burners. These are the people deciding that librarians are somehow enemies or part of a “deep state” conspiracy.
This country has a history that is both glorious and infamous at the same time. We are a study in stark contrasts: as a beacon of freedom and democracy while also serving as a dark example of oppression, slavery and genocide. But that history has to be known, confronted and understood to prevent a repeat of it.
And here we arrive at why the far right hates history lessons: These people, white supremacists, Nazis and the like, want a return of some of the darker parts of our history. These are the people who think separating families of desperate migrants is a good idea—especially if there is an internment camp, privately operated for profit, involved. These are the holocaust deniers. These are the people who want to redefine our history of slavery as “involuntary location.”
The former guy validated the mentality of this crowd, calling them very fine people. But in reality their very humanity is in question.
November 8th is coming closer by the minute. It is critically important that we remember another principle: “All politics is local.” Sure the national and statewide races are important. But the far right wants to take over local school boards, city and county offices—anywhere they can gain a foothold. Pay close attention to each of these local contests on election day. The far right extremists who want to turn our country into some sort of a nightmarish Christofascist empire must be voted down at every instance.
We came very close to becoming that nightmare empire on January 6th. Never again.
Marty Kassowitz is co-founder of Factkeepers. As founder of Interest Factory and View360, he brings more than 30 years experience in effective online communications, social media management, and platform development to the site. He is a writer, designer, editor and long time observer of the ill-logic demonstrated by too many members of the species known as Mankind. After a long history of somewhat private commentary on a subject he totally hates: politics, Marty was encouraged to build this site and put up his own analyses as well as curate relevant content from other sources.